Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From Kings, to Slaves, to Thugs (Why young black boys strive to be at the bottom)

African-Americans in the United States have a very unique past. Our past is not parallel to any other ethnic group here. Yes we share similarities with other minority groups. For example, Asians were placed in concentration camps and were forced to build railroads just as slaves were forced to build the White House, the Capitol and other marveled monuments. Immigrants came to the United States to seek a better life, to live the American dream that they heard about from acroos the Atlantic. But when they got here they were faced with predjudice, hostility, death threats and death just as black slaves faced.

However, our story is still significantly different. The Asians were still allowed to keep there names, practice their religion and keep hold of their heritage. The immigrants that fled to America for a better life came here voluntarily. They were not forced here by european capitalist, they were not captured by rival tribes and sold to slaveholders for little to nothing. Our story remains a dark time in our nations rich history that many people want to forget and sweep under the rug and pretend it never happened, and it remains as a constant reminder in the history of the majority of African-Americans of how far we've come and how much further we have to go.

But slavery is not the beginning of our history. Its not the root of our existen. Our history goes back so far that the pyramids we built were already ancient when some civilations were just learning the concept of mathematics.

I'm talking about the library of Timbuktu. I'm talking about King Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire who carried a caravan of 72,000 people across the Sahara desert to Mecca from West Africa on a hajj and did not lose 1 person. Were talking about King Sundiata who founded the Mali Empire. The Queen of Sheba, King Tut, Queen Candance, King Solomon (Jeremiah 14:2), Imhotep the father of modern day medicine and the builder of the first pyramids in Kemet (Egypt), Yeshua Ben Yoseph or more widley known by his most recognizable name. Jesus Christ. Our history is rich, it is respected and revered by many people, all except the people who own the history...US. Legend says that the gods of ancient greece would step down from the pantheon, walk through their village, cross the mediterranean to sit at the table of the black human beings of Kush, now know as Ethiopia.

That is who we are. That is where we come from. That is our heritage. I'm not trying to erase our past as slaves because slavery happened, its a reality, and believe it or not we have something to be proud of coming out of such a horrific ordeal. During slavery the slaveholders did many things to try and break our spirit, that killed the light of hope in us, that dampered that once strong regal identity that carried us for centuries. But there was one thing that they could not take away from us. Our value of family. Yes they moved us around from plantation to plantation, breeding us like cattle. But when slavery finally ended. The men literally crossed states in order to find their wives and children, they searched in the last known places they left in order to put their families back together so they can be a unit again.



WHAT IN THE HELL HAPPENED?

Since slavery some of the residual effects have remained in our psyche as black people especially young black males. The letter of Willie Lynch is a prime example of what I'm talking about (I will come back to this later). It seems that a vast group of us black men and black boys have this idea and this preconcieved notion that being a thug is the ideal personification of manhood . Now i'm not trying to judge anyone here, but i'm going to keep it real. "Keep it Real" a quote made famous by a person who on certain levels I respect and admire, but he also reffered to himself with pleasure as a thug. Tupac Shakur.

Let us first look at the 2 definitions of a thug:

Dictionary Thug: A cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer. One of the former group of prfessional robbers and murders in India who strangled their victims.

Tupac Amaru Shakur Thug: a thug is someone who is going through struggles, has gone through struggles, and continues to live day by day with nothing for them. That person is a thug. and the life they are living is the thug life. A thug is NOT a gangster....

Now according to Mr. Shakur a thug is basically anyone who is living a hard life day by day "with nothing for them" So by that definition alone we can say that slaves were thugs, that single mothers living on welfare are thugs. The millions who just lost their jobs during this recession are thugs right? And from what i've seen as a youth the thugs were the ones with all the money, cars and women. So where is this struggle he speak of? With all due respect, and God blessed the dead, but Tupac was wrong. The people he speak of are referred to as the poor, people living below the poverty level, the hungry, the victims. Thugs never consider themselves as victims. So with all that being said I have to ask.

1. Why as a thug would you be proud to live this life?
2. Why would you want to stay in that condition?

I would have to accept the original origins of what a thug is. Originating from India a thug is a noun to describe an individual person who rob, steals, kills and causes havoc. A group is called thugee a person is called a thug.

Meanings of words can be connotative.  Meaning they can mean different things to different people. However, your actions speak louder than your words. Pretty much everybody that I grew up with who referred to themselves as thugs either sold drugs, robbed or killed someone or all 3,and all of these things are known to cause havoc in a community. So I ask again why do we strive to be something that is considered the lowest part of civilzed society?

Going back to Willie Lynch. Willie Lynch was a british slave owner who delievered a speech to white slaveholders on the banks of of the James River in Virgina in 1712. The purpose of this letter was teach his American counter parts how to keep control of their slaves, and even if they were one day freed if they implemented his indoctrination correctly, they would keep themselves down. Here is an excerpt

"I HAVE A FULL PROOF METHOD FOR CONTROLLING YOUR BLACK SLAVES. I guarantee every one of you that, if installed correctly, IT WILL CONTROL THE SLAVES FOR AT LEAST 300 HUNDREDS YEARS. My method is simple. Any member of your family or your overseer can use it. I HAVE OUTLINED A NUMBER OF DIFFERENCES AMONG THE SLAVES; AND I TAKE THESE DIFFERENCES AND MAKE THEM BIGGER. I USE FEAR, DISTRUST AND ENVY FOR CONTROL PURPOSES"

Thugs are known to fight over territory that they don't own, but for the purposes of selling drugs they will kill another person from one side of town who comes to theirs. Here's what Willie Lynch said 250 years earlier..

"Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On top of my list is “AGE,” but it’s there only because it starts with an “a.” The second is “COLOR” or shade. There is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, SIZES OF PLANTATIONS, STATUS on plantations, ATTITUDE of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South"

MY ASSESSMENT 

In my opinion I think our young boys strive to be a thug because in the world they live in a thug has power, a thug commands respect, people fear them. If there is one thing people can get addicted to besides love is fear. A thug is anti-establishment. They are against the powers that be. They are against the ones who passes laws and judgement on others, while they themselves are not perfect. I think the life they glorify is a life they really don't want, but they rather be the hunters rather than the hunted.


A thug is a person who commands respect even if its brought by fear. A thug is a person who feels they are at a dead end and the natural selection of kill or be killed is the only option. So when I see a young black boy yelling at the top of his lungs, in the street, in the club, in a song or in my face that he's a thug. All I hear is "Help me please, I have no power and no one hears my cries". What do you think? Until next time.....Peace

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